It is a long held superstition in racing that the colour green is unlucky. Accordingly, you should never wear green to the race track. This unwritten rule is bound to cause a few conundrums for fashionistas in 2017, with the Pantone Colour Institute recently announcing the Colour of the Year 2017 is a lovely shade of green! Or more precisely, “Greenery” (Pantone 15-0343).
The global authority on colour for the fashion, product, interior and packaging design industries, has announced a Colour of the Year every year since 1999.
Pantone describes “Greenery” as: “Bringing forth a refreshing take, Greenery is a tangy yellow-green that speaks for our need to explore, experiment and reinvent. Illustrative of flourishing foliage, the fertile attributes of Greenery signals one to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”
Think green like a Granny Smith apple, a grass lawn or Kermit the Frog.
Apparently, the selection was based on the shade being refreshing and revitalising as well as being symbolic of new beginnings. Many see that as fitting after the eventful year that was 2016.
The colour will certainly be around with “Greenery” also appearing in Pantone’s top ten colours of Spring 2017. Released in September 2016, that report to the fashion industry was compiled after New York Fashion Week and Pantone’s analysis of the shades most used by designers in their Spring collections. So the good news is that there are a list of other fashionable hues – as long as you avoid Kale, a darker shade of green that also made the list.
So how does one decide if green really will attract bad luck? Why exactly is green unlucky? After all, its the colour of leprechauns, four-leaf clovers and hundred dollar bills.
The precise reason of why green is taboo at the racetrack is unclear. Some say it is unlucky to wear green while trying to win money as green is the colour of money. Others say it is because green has been regarded as unlucky and the ominous of death since the Victorian era, when the once very popular colour fell very much out of favour. In the late 1800’s, Scheele’s green pigment was commonly used in wallpaper and textiles. It’s aresenic content was to blame for thousands of deaths through toxic vapours or contact. High lead content paint also used at the time also caused many deaths, particularly with children’s whose toys and furniture which were popularly painted green at the time. Sadly for the colour green, these real causes were not discovered until sometime later when the once loved colour had already been blacklisted, seemingly forever branded unlucky.
Horse racing is not alone in this superstition, motor racing share the same aversion to wearing the hue at the track.
Perhaps this historical mumbo jumbo is not enough to discourage you from making a racing faux pas in the name of fashion. Heed this warning if you do decide on “greenery” racewear next year, be prepared to be regarded as a jinx for the day! Racing folk are a superstitious bunch and you might be blamed for any and all losses around you.
Will you risk the bad luck?
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